What do I do if my Cairn Terrier has fleas? November 1, 2018 07:17 1 Comment

What do I do if my Cairn Terrier has fleas?


Resist the temptation to burn down the house and move out.  Fleas are not fatal, they are really common and they are no respecters of clean houses and beautifully manicured gardens.   These critters are very hardy indeed, I must admit to having a tiny amount of grudging respect for their ability to survive. 

An adult female can lay forty eggs a day, and those eggs get everywhere. They are in bedding, the carpet, rugs, under furniture, in long grass, in the soil, even in the vacuum cleaner if you don’t get the bag cleaned out.

The cocoon can lie dormant for up to a year before emerging in warmer, damper conditions and stimulated by vibrations.  The unsuspecting dog only has to pass close by a long stalk of grass or another dog to have a happy flea leap on and start to enjoy living on the new host.  Although the life of a flea is short, the itchiness they cause can be brutal. 


If you are interested in owning a Cairn Terrier as a family pet, here are some other articles that you may find useful:

Do Cairn Terriers have health problems?

Should I vaccinate my Cairn Terrier?

Can I take my Cairn Terrier abroad?


Symptoms to look out for if you think Rover has fleas include excessive scratching, licking and biting.  They may do it so much that little bare patches appear. 

You may also find bits of flea dirt, looking like bits of dark grit, or indeed you may well see Mr and Mrs flea themselves, hard to mistake, two or three millimetres long, they will scurry through the fur to take cover.  If you catch them by hand, make sure you squish them well.

Getting rid of the adults is only half the battle, for every flea you can see there might be many hundreds more eggs ready to hatch out and start the cycle again so treatment is a must.

Some will swear by home remedies including tea tree oil, we have never found that particularly effective, although a good flea shampoo will help, again you have to be certain all the eggs are also gone too. 

If you treat the dog, it is also wise to treat the house by hoovering regularly.  You could choose a chemical spray, which you apply to the base of all skirting boards for yearlong control, or if the infestation is large, it is a pest controller’s job. 

Caution is required, dog flea treatment can be damaging to cats.  Another note of caution, it is alleged that certain flea products including Bravecto, Nexguard and Simparica have been linked to seizures and deaths in some animals.  It would be therefore wise to ask the vet you trust to ask for the best course of action.  The above companies administer the drug in chews; others use a spot on treatment, which sinks into the skin on the back of the neck. 

We have had dogs who were allergic to flea bites and needed extra treatment, and some dogs who were never afflicted, not once.  Good luck, hope this didn’t make you scratch too much.

p.s. Don't forget to keep your Cairn Terrier toasty warm this winter with a festive dog jumper...

Festive Dog coats